Wednesday

21st Nov 2018

New EU budget draft seeks cuts in farm aid, cohesion

  • Farm subsidies are taking the biggest cut in the new budget proposal (Photo: caese)

New member states and France are set to lose most from a fresh EU budget proposal slashing €75 billion from proposed 2014-2020 spending, but Britain still wants more cuts or it will veto the deal at a summit next week.

Drafted by EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy, the new "negotiating box" seeks cuts in almost all areas, with farm subsidies - which France benefits from the most - slashed by €21.5 billion compared to the initial EU commission proposal of €1 trillion overall for the seven-year period.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Funds for infrastructure and enterprises to help eastern member states to catch up with the West - so-called cohesion policy - is also set to receive €17 billion less than planned.

Neither French nor Polish diplomats were happy about the draft.

"It is clearly not what we wanted," one source told this website. Paris has already slammed a previous compromise tabled by the Cypriot EU presidency, which had sought smaller cuts in farm subsidies.

For his part, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is currently busy shuttling between Brussels and Berlin in his bid to make the case for the "Friends of cohesion" - a group of countries benefiting the most from regional spending.

"Germany as a net payer has clearly a different view than Poland and the Friends of cohesion, but we have always been able to find common ground," Tusk said on Wednesday (14 November) at a joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Germany wants big cuts, but Poland says these cuts should be more balanced, to protect this growth mechanism that is cohesion policy," he added.

Merkel said she is willing to seek a compromise next week and warned that having no deal on the seven-year budget would damage EU credibility.

"Even if we are net payers, it is not our goal not to have a deal. We will do our best to reach an agreement, one that is fair for everyone," she said.

A German government spokesman earlier in the day welcomed the Van Rompuy text.

"It is a good thing to have compromise proposals, we are now in the hot phase ahead of the summit and we all have an interest in reaching a deal next week," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a press conference.

The current proposal is closer to what Germany first had in mind - €120 billion less than what the commission tabled.

"I think in the end we'll get a deal on cuts of around €100 billion," one Cypriot diplomat told this website. Asked why Cyprus earlier proposal only went called for cuts of €50 billion, he replied it was "negotiating tactics."

"The key to the deal is Britain," the source added.

As for British sensitivities, the draft goes nowhere near what would be acceptable for Prime Minister David Cameron not to use his veto.

"We think it's still too high and the cuts don't go far enough. It will be difficult to get a deal," a British source said.

Sweden has also said it is unhappy with the proposal, which seeks to reduce the Swedish rebate by some €25 million while leaving Britain's multi-billion-euro rebate untouched.

Opinion

EU budget: Don't cut the left arm to save the right

EU citizens will be the biggest losers of the power struggle on the Union's budget for 2014-2020, as any cuts will stifle growth and jobs, write MEPs Joseph Daul and Reimer Boege.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary grants asylum to ex-Macedonia PM
  2. UK court rules against government in Article 50 case
  3. May to meet Juncker on Wednesday to finalise Brexit deal
  4. Future of EU's Mediterranean naval mission in doubt
  5. EU budget talks for 2019 collapse
  6. EU mulls new Russia sanctions over Ukraine 'elections'
  7. EU farm chief 'confident' sugar prices will recover
  8. Researcher: EU expert groups still imbalanced and opaque

Magazine

A deep dive into the EU regional funds

While the regional funds account for a full third of the EU budget, they are somewhat under-reported. EUobserver's latest edition of the Regions & Cities magazine looks at the EU's cohesion policy.

Magazine

The EU Agencies Race

In this edition of EUobserver's Regions & Cities magazine, we take a closer look at some of the EU agencies, exploring how their location matters and the benefits for cities and regions to host them.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Boycott threats mount on eve of Interpol election
  2. EU parliament to renege on transparency promises
  3. Cyprus and Greece to create EU spy academy
  4. MEPs likely to delay vote on greater transparency
  5. Cold shoulder for Franco-German euro budget plan
  6. Whistleblower: Danske Bank gag stops me telling more
  7. Spain raises Gibraltar, as EU and UK talk post-2020 relationship
  8. Panic is not answer to EU's security challenges

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us